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Triangle Supporters of 'Jena 6' Head to Louisiana

Posted September 19, 2007

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— Hundreds of people from the Triangle will take part in a rally in Louisiana to support the "Jena Six" on Thursday.

Protesters are upset over charges against black teenagers who police said were involved in the beating of a white student last December. The teens were initially charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit attempted murder. The charges were later reduced to aggravated battery.

The first teen to go on trial, Mychal Bell, was convicted by an all-white jury. A judge later ruled he should not have been tried as an adult, but Bell remains in jail while the prosecutor appeals the ruling.

Attorney and nationally syndicated radio host Warren Ballentine said he will be at the Louisiana rally. The racial turmoil in Jena began to flow across the Triangle airwaves after an interview on his radio show.

"It all started by the parents coming on a radio show, my show actually," said Ballentine.

Racial unrest is not new for the tiny town of Jena. A year ago, a black student allegedly asked the vice principal of Jena High School if he could sit under what was referred to as the "white" tree, in the school yard, where only white students were allowed to sit. The vice principal agreed. The next day, three nooses hung from the tree limb. Three white students allegedly responsible were suspended, but were not charged with a hate crime. The school superintendent called it just a prank

"This really isn't about black and white. It's about these kids going through something like this. All American people should be upset about this, because it could be your child. It could be my child," said Ballentine.

After the radio interview, Ballentine's listeners began to speak out about what was happening in Jena. A lot of those people will be riding buses to Jena for the rally.

"I expect to see 60,000-plus [in Jena, Louisiana] of not just African Americans, but white, Hispanics, Asians, Americans who are literally standing up saying our children will not be treated this way," said Ballentine.

Four charter buses will pull out of Durham Wednesday morning before arriving in Louisiana Thursday. Participants from at least 30 different cities are expected, including members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Some residents in Jena are boarding up their homes and businesses, even schools are closed in anticipation of Thursday's rally. Thursday was chosen because it was the original sentencing date for Bell.

218 Comments

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  • then who cares Sep 19, 2007

    Racism is like herpes; so far there is not a cure! You never know when it will break out. You should warn your partner if you know you have it. And always protect yourself. It knows no boundaries! Once you have it, it is always possible for it to re-occur.

  • whatusay Sep 19, 2007

    Guilty or not the Jena 6 are being supported by the black community. Let justice decide if they are guilty, not their color.

  • Spartacus Sep 19, 2007

    Comments on this story must be approved by our editorial staff before they appear on the site. Those deemed inappropriate or in violation of our Terms of Service will be rejected.

  • R.O.BdaCZAR Sep 19, 2007

    I feel insulted by whoever screens these comments. I've read a lot of insulting posts on this site towards black people congregating. Screener you need to post all my comments if you let Candy6432 run wild like that. The whole time Candy6432 has been venting. Whenever black people do something together its a problem to white folks.

  • My_Opinion Sep 19, 2007

    It still amazes me that some people do not see anything wrong with the fact that a public school in America had a "white tree". It further amazes me that a black student had to ask to sit under this tree. No, it wasn't right for the black kids to beat the white kid. The problem here is that the noose hangings were called a prank. The white kids got off with a slap on the hands. Why is it that a black person's life has any less value than a white person's. If you dismiss one action, the other should be dismissed as well.

  • G-man Sep 19, 2007

    Now don't go saying white folks don't get it. I get it. It's a mess. It starts with the adults and runs through the elected officials. White and black on either side of the issue. But after seeing some of stupid remarks on here it will probably get worse before it gets better. Let's see, he had a court appointed attorney. Does that mean he is stupid? He must have had to pass a test, but this guy has been played off as a moron. Seems to me something needs to be done in the education system with attorneys. Then how about well he was only stomping him in the head and he had tennis shoes on. Come on folks. That's trying to kill somebody anyway you look at it. Hang a noose in a tree, well sounds to me like you're hunting trouble. Don't complain to much when it shows up. Not that they had a right or anything but try hard enough you can make a mess.

  • claudnc Sep 19, 2007

    wakemom - can I applaud you - you wrapped that thing up in about 1500 words or less!!!! I just cant believe what went on in the courthouse with Mycheal Bell's trail. 1) First with the DA stating that he could destroy the kids life with a stroke of his pen. 2) One of the witnesses being related to a juror 3) The DA going to school/friends with a juror. 4) no witnesses called by the appointed attorney for the defense. I am saddened but not shocked that folks have not attempted to find out the clear facts in this case but will make comments such as he needs to be in prison for 80+ years. Please wake up and find out the facts. There is definately a disparity in the judical system lets not put our heads in the sand on this. I am finding it really hard to believe that folks are acting like racism does not exist.

  • TruthBKnown Sep 19, 2007

    "IF I SAID IT ONCE, I WILL SAY IT AGAIN, and you can tell by the post ON THIS subject;;; NC Caucasian community just DON'T GET IT..."

    Souljp1, as a member of the "caucasian community" (it's ok to call us whites), exactly what are we not getting? What excuses can you cite for those six black kids beating a white kid?

    And better yet, would you be quoting Anne Frank's diary if six white kids beat a black kid down there?

    I think we all know the answer to that.

  • hollylama Sep 19, 2007

    I'm not sure what to say about this case. It was wrong for the 6 to attack 1 just because the N word was used. My mother grew up in the south and taught us not to be swayed by simple words. Was the punishment harsh? Yes. But I'm not sure any group is sending the right message whether they be black or white.

  • 713peace Sep 19, 2007

    Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are not the only voices that brought this story to light, but it is great to have them there to make sure this DA does not take away these kids freedom at a stroke of a pen per his statement. I support the Jena 6 and will be donating to the legal defense fund. A lot of people don't understand the need for defendants to have rights until they themselves are accused of a crime. Words are powerful.

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